BeezerMN, February 19, 2007 (view all comments by BeezerMN)
The Measure and the Truth by Doug Niles is the third, and final book, in the Rise of Solamnia trilogy. The first book is Lord of the Rose and the second is The Crown and the Sword. When the first book of this trilogy was released, this trilogy was said to signify a reworking of the Solamnic Knights order, how they operate and how they conduct all their business. After finishing the trilogy however, I am not really certain all that much has changed beyond one thing.
The plot of this book, and the trilogy for that matter, held a great deal of promise. Yet, after finishing three books and about 1,000 pages I am left feeling like Mr. Niles made a trilogy out of one book. This books plot, while there are a few subplots, is rather benign and at times boring. The main plot is about a large battle that is fought, moved to a different location, fought again, and moved and fought one more time. The main character Jaymes seems to run around all over the place even though he is the emperor in power now. As I said with my review of The Crown and Sword, Mr. Niles again repeats these large scale battles where thousands of people (and creatures) die. This begs the question, how many people are there in the world of Krynn, or more importantly Solamnia to fight these massive battles? It has to run out sooner or later right?
If you are a fan of character development, be prepared to be vastly disappointed. Unless you like characters doing this completely opposite of what you would expect them to do for no apparent reason. Case in point, throughout the course of this book, and most of the second book, the main character Jaymes is a dictator ruling with an iron fist and even calls the people `cattle' at times. Yet, at the end of the book, for no real reason his attitude suddenly shifts and we are to look on him as a kind caring man who understand he did wrong at times. I'm sorry, but with the things he did (no spoilers) there is no way that image can take root. The characters in this book were mostly disappointing and quite honestly, I cared very little for them. The only characters I found myself wanting to read about were the dwarfs (and they were merely a subplot). For a book, and series, that will likely have a lasting impact on Krynn these characters were not good at all.
There are certainly events in this book, and series, that will have a lasting impact on the Knights order and Krynn in general. Yet, I can't help but feel cheated after finishing this book because the expectations I had going into it were so much higher than what I got in the end. In my opinion the characters were very shallow and the overall plot arc was poorly done. I am surprised by saying that because there are several books by Mr. Niles that I have enjoyed a great deal. Unfortunately, this series is not one of them. This could merely be a case of the wrong author for this particular assignment.
Hardcore fans of the Dragonlance world should really read this series, for no better reason than the events that transpire will have a lasting impact for future Dragonlance books. Casual fans may be disappointed by this series due to the poor character development and shallow plot lines. Over the course of the past couple years it seems the Dragonlance novels and suffering from poor plotlines and substandard characters. There are somegems being written, but largely the quality is not up to what one would expect. I sincerely hope Wizards of the Coast is working to rectify this, as I enjoy Dragonlance books quite a bit.
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